INDIANAPOLIS (2/10/15)--The breach to befall Indianapolis-based Anthem Inc., the second largest health insurer in the United States, may be one of the most harmful yet.
Anthem announced last week that hackers had infiltrated its servers and nabbed names, addresses, Social Security numbers, birthdays, emails and employment information of up to 80 million current and former customers (The New York Times Feb. 6).
While the hackers were unable to obtain medical record data, experts say the cybercriminals can still easily commit medical identity theft and fraud.
Given the size of the breach, credit union members and consumers may be wondering what steps they can take to protect themselves if they're an Anthem customer.
Michelle Dosher, CUNA market research and consumer education managing editor, said customers should be on the lookout for scammers mimicking emails purportedly sent from Anthem asking for personal information.
"If you receive an email from a company regarding a security breach, don't automatically open it," Dosher told News Now. "First, go to the company's website or call to make sure the information online matches the email you received."
Or, if you've already opened the email, Dosher said make sure not to click any links until the information has been verified with the company online or by phone. Emails from fake Anthem accounts have already been sent by scammers to consumers, according to The New York Times.
To protect against medical fraud, consumers also could consider making copies of their own medical files so they have accurate versions of their histories before hackers have the opportunity to make any changes, according to Pam Dixon, World Privacy Forum executive director (The New York Times).